Copper-2 Ingestion, Plus Increased Meat Eating Leading to Increased Copper Absorption, Are Major Factors Behind the Current Epidemic of Alzheimer's Disease

Nutrients. 2015 Dec 2;7(12):10053-64. doi: 10.3390/nu7125513.


It has become clear that copper toxicity is playing a major role in Alzheimer's disease; but why is the brain copper toxicity with cognition loss in Alzheimer's disease so much different clinically than brain copper toxicity in Wilson's disease, which results in a movement disorder? Furthermore, why is the inorganic copper of supplement pills and in drinking water so much more damaging to cognition than the organic copper in food? A recent paper, which shows that almost all food copper is copper-1, that is the copper-2 of foods reverts to the reduced copper-1 form at death or harvest, gives new insight into these questions. The body has an intestinal transport system for copper-1, Ctr1, which channels copper-1 through the liver and into safe channels. Ctr1 cannot absorb copper-2, and some copper-2 bypasses the liver, ends up in the blood quickly, and is toxic to cognition. Humans evolved to handle copper-1 safely, but not copper-2. Alzheimer's is at least in part, a copper-2 toxicity disease, while Wilson's is a general copper overload disease. In this review, we will show that the epidemiology of the Alzheimer's epidemic occurring in developed, but not undeveloped countries, fits with the epidemiology of exposure to copper-2 ingestion leached from copper plumbing and from copper supplement pill ingestion. Increased meat eating in developed countries is also a factor, because it increases copper absorption, and thus over all copper exposure.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Alzheimer’s disease epidemiology; copper plumbing; copper supplement pills; copper-2.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology
  • Animals
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Copper / adverse effects*
  • Copper / chemistry
  • Copper / pharmacokinetics*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Red Meat*
  • Risk Factors


  • Copper